Modern air conditioners are quieter than the older models, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be distracting. Sometimes, if you notice your air conditioner is louder than normal, it may be because something is wrong with it. Here are some of the reasons that your air conditioner may be too loud.

1. Noise Reduction Pads are Worn

Many air conditioners include padding that is meant to dampen or absorb noise. However, if the unit is damaged or old, the noise reduction pads may be worn down. Normally this is a gradual increase in noise, but you may still notice a sudden jump. You may want to just deal with the louder noise until you’re ready to replace the unit, because it should be on its way out soon anyway.

2. Fan Problems

Loud rattling noises may be the result of fan problems. Sometimes small objects get stuck inside of the fan if a child drops it in or it falls from a nearby surface. Or sometimes parts of the air conditioner itself comes loose and end up in the fan, which then creates noise. You’ll need a professional to figure out what might be in your fan or what might be wrong with the fan.

3. Motor Problems

Beyond the fan, the major source of noise in your air conditioner is the motor. When broken or damaged, the motor may make more noise. One common cause of this is the belt, which may be worn or misaligned and scrape against other parts of the air conditioner. When there are motor problems, your air conditioner will also be much less efficient, so it is wise to get professional help with this for two reasons.

4. Ductwork

Are you sure that it is the air conditioning unit itself that is making the noise? If you hear the noise when the air conditioner’s fan comes on, but when you get close to the air conditioner it doesn’t quite sound like the air conditioner is the source of the noise, it could be the ducts. Those metal ducts connected to the air conditioner take cool air throughout your home. If there is something in them, the fan may rattle that object around and make the noise.

Another possible noise from the ductwork is a kind of flexing or popping. When the air conditioner’s fan turns on it changes the pressure in the ducts and, if the ducts are too small, that may result in them moving or banging just the once. A professional can help you sort out any noise issues with your ducts.

5. The Outdoor Unit

What if the noise isn’t in your house but is coming from the outdoor unit? Just because this noise might not be as annoying to you as a noise from inside your home doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. A noise with the outdoor unit usually indicates that the air conditioner is not working as efficiently as it should and may be costing you in utilities, never mind damaging itself.